Thursday, November 20, 2008

Making It Work

I often get accused of being able to wear whatever I want because I'm a size 6. I'm here to tell you that that's simply not the case. Many of the styles that I love are in fact designed for a curvier, bustier frame than mine, and I'm forced to make do with what's out there. As a result, I've learned to adapt a lot of styles to suit my somewhat rectangular dimensions and size 36A bust.

Clothing should be styled to flatter the particular body it is draped on, thus it is perfectly acceptable for the same item to look completely different depending on who wears it. We've all fallen in love with that beautiful sweater that looks amazing on the hanger, only to put it on and discover that it makes us look like we're wearing a potato sack. With some items there's nothing to be done except to walk away, but sometimes you can take that shapeless sack and style it in a way that works for you.

Now I'm certainly not advocating running out and buying all the latest trendy clothing and forcing it to suit you; far from it. What I AM saying is that sometimes all it takes is a little imagination to adapt a style to flatter your body. Belts are perfect for giving shape and definition to your waist when it's hidden beneath baggy or bulky styles. Layering is a great way to solve all sorts of problems, from sleeves that are too short to a neckline that is too low. Skirts and dresses can be layered too, to change both the length and the fullness. The end result will not only be more interesting, it will also be completely yours.

When I spotted this cashmere sweater years ago in the store window, I immediately wanted it. The thick, soft luxuriousness of the knit and the unusual pale greenish-yellow color were so enticing that I went in and tried it on. It looked boxy and terrible. It made my bust look smaller and my waist nonexistent. So what did I do? I bought it anyway. It was so appealing to me in every other respect that I knew I had to figure out a way to make it work.

In the case of the sweater the only thing really lacking is a fitted waist, which the elastic belt easily takes care of. Another notable item in my wardrobe that is really not cut for my figure is my Crystal Candy dress. When I saw it online I loved the length, the colors, and the pattern. It was on sale for $20. In every way it was perfect for me, except that I haven't the cleavage that the top of the dress is cut for. So rather than wear it alone I layer it with other tops, and it looks great. Adding a belt further accentuates my small waist, which in turn makes the rest of my figure look more hourglass and proportioned.

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The point I'm trying to make is that no matter what sort of figure you have, don't assume that you can't wear a particular style. Maybe it's just that you need to try wearing it in a different way.

Sweater: Anne Taylor
Scarf: A gift from Sal
Skirt: Anthropologie
Leggings: Kenzie
Boots: MIA
Belt: Red Dress Shoppe

8 comments:

Jessi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessi said...

Oh, I just want to hug you! lol "Accused" is the exact word. I hate that people think, just because you (we) are small, everything will fit you (us) and you (we) shouldn't have a problem. I think we all have problems finding clothes made in standard sizes to fit our non-standard bodies. It drives me nuts when people constantly accuse me of being able to wear whatever I want because I’m a size 6. I have plenty of challenges finding something that fits my body too.

We are similarly sized, though, I would have never guess it. You look so small. Size 6 on the bottom, size 34A on the top, for me. I have yet to pull of the belted look though. Ugh. I must be doing something wrong.

Can I also add (since, you know, I've gone on my tangent already), that I love the way it seems you are able to put any pattern and/or color together. It's amazing. You have an amazing knack for pulling it all together!

I am truly fascinated because I'm so not the fashionista.

a cat of impossible colour said...

I'm a size 6 too in American sizing, and it bugs me hugely when people say "Oh, it's all right for YOU," as if everything will just magically fit me and look good. Not always the case. It also bugs me when someone who is larger tells me that their figure is more 'normal' than mine, as if I should feel guilty. All sizes are normal! People are different! That's a good thing! Blech. Sorry. Thanks for the ranting space, and the good advice!

Leslie said...

Great post--I totally agree. I'm a typical 8 and people think that means I can wear basically anything but its not the case. But I have found styles that I didnt think would work for me but I have found a way to. A belted waist is one of those. Being an apple shape, I cant wear a skinny belt at my waist...but I have discovered that if the belt is wide, it works well. It's all about finding what works well for you!

Sal said...

Well put, lady, and SO true. Although we have to be wary of buying garments that are truly unflattering, the wonders of accessorization and layering can transform something that doesn't fit perfectly into something that suits us to a tee! And YOU, of course, are a perfect example of this practice in action.

Sal said...

Oooh! Glad to see the scarf in action, too. Looks fab with that brooch.

Eyeliah @ stylesymmetry.com said...

You make some great points in this post. I agree that just b/c you are a size 6 doesn't mean everything works. all sizes have their challenges. I canNOT wear overalls, tight dress, bandage skirts EVER! lol
I'm glad you didn't let a little boxiness stop you from getting this sweater.

Karen T said...

You look like a size 2, lady!! A 4 a the MOST. You wear your clothes so well, and you are my inspiration. I am a 4 on a good day, 6 on most every other day, but I am curvy, hourglass shaped so I struggle with fit a lot. Belts are a KEY item in my wardrobe, they balance everything out. I wonder if height plays a role as well?